- 7-Eleven launched a voice-powered app that lets customers place delivery orders through their Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speakers, according to an announcement shared with sister publication Mobile Marketer. The 7Voice service lets customers in 34 major metropolitan areas use voice commands to order food, cosmetics, home goods and other products for 30-minute delivery.
- Customers must link their smart speakers with 7Now, the convenience chain's home delivery app that was introduced last year, to set up voice shopping through the respective Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant mobile apps. After issuing a verbal wake command to their smart speakers, users can say, "Open 7Now" to start shopping.
- 7-Eleven doesn't have minimum spending requirements on home-delivery orders, which are available 24 hours a day. The chain offers first-time 7Now customers free delivery, and then charges a regular fee of $3.99 for every order after that.
By adding voice shopping, 7-Eleven aims to reach consumers who have bought smart speakers in the past few years and are growing increasingly reliant on home delivery from retailers and restaurants. The company said it's made more than 1 million deliveries after it began testing app-based orders two years ago in the area surrounding its Dallas headquarters.
7-Eleven needs to expand voice-based shopping and home delivery to keep pace with prevailing retail trends. Amazon five years ago introduced Alexa as a voice-powered gateway to its e-commerce platform, and last year expanded its capabilities to handle home-delivery orders in select markets from Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain it acquired in 2017. Walmart last week expanded its voice shopping service from Google devices to include Apple's offerings, letting users of the Siri virtual assistant add products to their online shopping carts.
Incorporating voice ordering and delivery is the latest move by 7-Eleven to elevate its shopping experience through mobile technology. This year, the chain added loyalty features powered by augmented reality around March Madness and the "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" movie premiere. Location-based delivery arrived in June to expand 7-Eleven's convenience-minded features, while mobile checkout two months later began allowing in-store shoppers to bypass the line and pay through the app.
The growth in home-delivery services may help to spur growth in voice shopping, which is still in its infancy. Voice commerce sales last year totaled $2.1 billion, or less than half of 1% of all U.S. e-commerce sales, per researcher eMarketer. Most consumers use voice-powered devices to research products — not buy them — the firm said in a separate report. About 62% of consumers say they prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store, while 26% chose the web, 7% mobile and 0.58% a smart speaker, a survey by Gartner found.